Group of immigrants welcomed into U.S. citizenship at Soldiers & Sailors
Guinea native Ibrahima Bah came to the United States in 1998 in pursuit of education, he said.
First on the list for the French speaker: Learn English, so he took English courses at Point Park University.
Ten years later, he had earned a bachelor's degree in computer information systems from Robert Morris University and a master's degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.
As of Friday, Bah had another document to show for his efforts: a certificate of naturalization.
“The U.S. is a great country, one of the best democracies that we have in the world,” said Bah, 35, of West View.
On Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Eddy administered the Oath of Allegiance to Bah and 67 other immigrants who became U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland. The new citizens hail from 34 countries, including Australia, China, Ghana, Mexico and Pakistan.
Their paths to citizenship were diverse.
After emigrating from New Zealand to the United States 22 years ago, Aleppo residents Fraser and Pam Fleming, both 49, became U.S. citizens because Fraser Fleming, a Duquesne University chemistry professor, is required to be a citizen for his new job at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Va.
“But we've been thinking about it for a while. All of our kids are Americans,” Pam Fleming said.
Spain native Juan Mata, who gave a speech at the ceremony, moved back to the United States permanently in 2000 after being impressed by Pittsburgh's people and traditions, he said.
The Allison Park resident, 48, is director of admissions and student activity at Hampton-based Aquinas Academy, about 380 of whose students and faculty cheered on Mata.
Soldiers & Sailors President John McCabe, U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, and other dignitaries urged the new citizens to take advantage of America's freedoms and opportunities, but stressed that those rights and privileges come with the responsibility to uphold the country's principles.
“Our country was founded on the ideal that you're able to develop God-given talents, that you have inalienable rights,” Rothfus said.
The sentiments were expressed as national calls for federal immigration reform build.
On Tuesday, a Senate committee approved a measure that would create new paths for people to immigrate legally to the United States to work at all skill levels while tightening border security and offering an opportunity for citizenship to the 11 million people in the country illegally.
House Republicans, however, will produce their own legislation, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
“There has to be an element of fairness. … Obviously, the immigration system we have now is broken,” said Rothfus, who said improving border security and implementing a legal-employment verification system were two priorities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh police deliver 2,500 Thanksgiving meals through program
- Carrick crime ‘blitz’ shows early signs of success
- Alpine touring skiing movement faces uphill climb in Western Pa.
- Pittsburgh nonprofit 412 Food Rescue takes surplus food to needy
- Century Inn owner hopes to reopen Washington County landmark, gutted by fire, by end of next year
- Legislators, Wolf agree on one thing: Higher work zone fines
- Security policies limit ‘insider threat’ at airports, TSA says
- Pet chiropractic more popular in Western Pa., but doubts linger
- Police find marijuana grow rooms in Castle Shannon
- Penn Hills school board unanimously fires former business director
- North Side stabber sentenced to 20 to 40 years